The Let's Play Archive

Realms of Arkania III: Shadows over Riva

by Bobbin Threadbare

Part 23: Session 16.5: The Bullshit Continues

Session 16.5: The Bullshit Continues

Welcome to the first lower deck! Sadly, we won’t be seeing quite as much of this one as we have the last. In fact, beyond the three rooms up, down, and right of the party, we won’t be seeing much at all.

Let’s take ‘em out.

The cook isn’t much of a combatant, so you manage to bind and gag him before he’s able to raise the alarm. What do you do with him?

Loot him.

He’s the cook. He’s got nothing on him but the clothes he’s wearing. Even the flask of booze he was drinking from shattered in the struggle.

Lame. Just toss him in a corner, then.

You lay the prisoner into his hammock.

So is there anything else in the kitchen worth grabbing?

There’s a copper cauldron containing a creamy broth on the table. It is made of fish, turnips, bread, and some small red pods, all cut up.

These guys must have an aversion to decent food.

There’s also a knife next to the cauldron, evidently for cutting up some long, thin roots and adding them to the broth. William identifies them as olgin roots.

Ooh. Any left over?

No, sadly. Oh, but you do find a key in his chest. Nothing else of interest, though.

We should get moving.

What the hell is that?
I think—

As I was saying, I think that’s the rudder control. You’d need this many pulleys for someone human to actually move the rudder of a big ship like this.
So what happens when we cut one?
The rudder stops working and they have to get down here to fix it, or else they’re stuck going windward.
Let’s do it.

Cutting through the ropes is child’s play. The whole ship jolts, and rights itself from its previous list to the right.

Starboard. Right is starboard.

Why do ships get fancy names for normal things? So like I said, the ship stops listing. There’s a tremendous amount of shouting and general commotion up on deck. So much, in fact, that you can hear it all the way down here. The ropes start moving; someone is pulling on them from above. Then, things quiet down.

Disabling the rudder is a requirement to escaping. Like Yann said last time, the ship is towing an emergency boat behind it which the party can use to escape, but the ship could easily catch up if it could control its steering. However, I believe it also sets off a timer which limits how long you can stay on the lower decks before the boatswain shows up again, and what he does when he shows up…well, I’ll get to that later.

Here’s your first warning. Unfortunately, it’s only just occurred to me as of writing that cutting the rudder was the trigger event, and I don’t feel like redoing half the ship again just to be sure, so our escapades down here will end fairly soon.

Does the key fit?

It does, and you now have access to the ships larder. Plenty of regular rations in here, and in one chest in particular, you see such things as smoked ham from the Kosch (I’m pretty sure that’s a region somewhere), smoked guinea fowls, dried salzareles and precious herbs.

What’s that in game terms?


You know how regular rations will only drop the hunger meter by half? I think these will fill you up completely.

Good thing we never have to find out, said the man with the magic sack.
Can’t we take just a few? My character must be sick of eating bread by now.
From my magic sack.
You’re better off filling your inventory with those valuable herbs instead. It’s not like you have to deal with it, after all. Maybe pour off some Pepsi for him, but be reasonable about what you carry.
Everyone loves my tasty magic sack bread.
Can I at least get the ration bag off of Hal?

Wow, that’s…far more rations than we would ever reasonably need.

It’s a ship full of sailors, and this is just a random crate. I wanted to give you an idea of just how much food is stored in the larder.

That sounds like a tall roof. Why is there a tall roof?
Vertical packing space? This is the main hold. But still, this ship is tall. Are we even above the waterline yet?

This is the room on the bottom edge (port) amidships. You actually have to climb a small staircase to reach it.

You’re above the water by now. You’ve found a pair of ballistae, both of which use small iron balls instead of bolts.

That would make it an arbalest, actually. How big are the gun ports? Do you think we could squeeze through?
Why would we do that?
We’re trying to escape the ship, remember?

No, the holes are just big enough to let the balls through.

Must be uncomfortable to aim, then.

Must be. There are three chests in the room if you’re interested.

We are.

Aside from the usual junk, you find a silver mace, a necklace with a dolphin pendant, and a suit of ringmail armor.

Maces are edged weapons, right? How is it?

+1 damage over the saber, but a -2 penalty to Parry and Thorwalians can’t use it anyway.

Fuck’s sake…
What’s the ring armor do?

It’s mostly a better kind of chainmail. Hindrance is lower by 1 and Attack is only -1 instead of -2, plus it weighs less and the armorer in town doesn’t have any. Armor bonus is one less than scale, though.

Still sounds pretty good. I’ll take it!

This is as much as I could do before the boatswain would inevitably burst in. I don’t think “Bob” is quite ruthless enough to commit a total party kill (TPK) against his players, but the sequence is still interesting, so I’ve decided to add it in anyway. Those of you who have followed a certain other LP of mine might recognize this gimmick.

Suddenly a large number of sailors, led by the boatswain—

Just call him the bos’un. It’s been bugging me that you say the whole thing.

It’s what’s in the module, and I don’t know a damn thing about ships! So the sailors file into the cabin. What do you do?

Kill ‘em all!

What follows is a large combat between a good dozen or so marines and a party without even a corner to back into. However, thanks to exploiting the AI and carefully placing the party around the room’s obstacles, I killed them all, with only Yann as a casualty. Poor kid got stuck out front somehow. I’d show the combat, but as it is rendered COMPLETELY pointless by the following dialogue, I won’t bother.

Oh yes, and if you’re caught inside a room, you don’t even get to fight before they tie you up.

Woohoo! Killed ‘em all!

Sadly, that was just the first wave of sailors. The rest eventually overwhelm you and tie you up.

What? No they don’t. We killed the shit out of the first wave and we’re still ready for more.
I may be low on AP, but all our fighters still have plenty of LP, and William and Paul still have plenty of arrows left. What makes you think we’re in any trouble?
They all tackle you until you can’t fight anymore, alright? Your characters would get exhausted sometime. When you’re tied up, the…bos’un explains, “Judgin’ from yer actions, I ‘ave to conclude ye’re not interested in a career aboard our fine vessel, ye scurvy rats!” The other sailors laugh at you.
I laugh right back! I could easily bust through the restraints with 25 strength, right?
You try and fail. “As yer imperilin’ the life o’ the fine body o’ men aboard ‘er thus, we ‘ave but one choice on ‘ow to deal with ye.” The sailors evidently agree.
This is just some grade A bullshit right here.

What? What does that even mean?! It sounds like we’d have a second chance at this or something.
Fuck this game, man. I don’t want to try again.

*Sigh* At least they didn’t “walk the plank” or such nonsense.

But of course, that never happened. It never happened five goddamn times as I tried to beat the time limit and grab the stuff in the port gun battery. Instead, this happened:

Why now? There’s still stuff to loot down here!

Let’s just say it’d be a really good idea to get off this deck for a while. Like, oh, say, maybe a too-large-to-beat group of sailors and thugs is searching the area for someone who disabled the rudder.

Onwards and upwards, then.
You said it wrong.
It’s supposed to be “onwards and upw*bleeaaghh*”
Can’t you forget about that?
Not while it’s still funny.

This is the aft upper deck of the ship, where the chief officers live. Thankfully, the time limit no longer applies, and you can see the towed boat on the right of the big image. We’re entering the upper right room first.

That one? When you move to it, Yann shouts, “No, don’t! That’s where the ship’s mage lives!
Oh, now we have to go in.

Lucky for you, he isn’t in at the moment.

I’ll bet his stuff is, though.

There’s another chest in the chamber with an item lock, but sadly I don’t know which item it needs to work.

Best not to tempt fate. I’ll cast a Foramen on it.

The lock springs open easily.

That is a lot of herbs.
Why yes, yes that is. And look at who has a lot of open inventory! Aren’t you glad I talked you out of those pointless rations?
I’m still a bit iffy on that.

There’s another chest with several empty bottles, some brandy, and three recipes, “Strong Healing Potion” notably among them.

Excellent. I’ll just add that to the list…oops.
Oops? How did you oops?

It’s the little touches in the programming that let you know they cared.

This is the bottom right room.


Aren’t any of you going to stop him sometime?

We haven’t stopped agreeing with him yet.

*Sigh* Fine, you fling open the door and charge in. But before you can reach the two men, a thick fog swells up, swallowing everything. By the time it clears, you are alone in the room.

Wait, did you just cockblock us from getting a boss battle?

This section of the module is titled “Escape from the Bride of the Winds!” not “Killing Every Sailor on the Bride of the Winds!”

Never stopped us before.

Yes, but I’d rather not have a bloodbath for once. So the captain and the magician got away and they’re probably rallying the crew as you’re sitting here. Oh, and you can see a set of windows at the back which you could probably jump out of. What do you do?

We search the chests.


Holy cash cow, Batman!
I can’t believe you just said that.
Shut up and stuff your pockets with gold and jewelry! Alex, take the amulets so we can identify them later.

The other chest is full of weapons, a robe, shoes, and another oilskin.

Anything I can use? Please?

Just another seal slayer, plus a…“kunchomer.” It says it has +1 damage, but -1 Parry.

So? Is it a sword? Can I wield it?

Let me see…yes, actually. Yes you can.

Finally. Oh dear God finally. I don’t care about the penalty, just give me a new goddamn sword.

Well, you got one. There aren’t any more chests left in the room, but there are still a couple windows you can jump out of.

If I had climbed up the forward ladder (or if I climb up here), I would have ended up on the main deck, where I would have had to take a bunch of options to avoid capture and dive overboard. This is less interesting, but far, far more efficient.

Now before you read on, do me a favor and open a new tab with the first main update in it. It’s on the first page, don’t worry. There yet? Ok, now take a good look at all the characters’ Body stats. Notice anything unusual? That’s right, every single character has an abnormally large Swim score (well, except for vVhorpax, but you should have seen where it started). This single incident is the only reason why.

The water engulfs you completely. It is freezing. You won’t be able to stay afloat for very long. When you break the surface again, you see the ship’s lifeboat which is being pulled along behind the vessel. Everyone make Swim rolls.

Alright, looks like everyone except Belle has to drop some equipment or risk drowning.

Well, fuck this shirt, then. I’m going to drop the chainmail greaves and helmet first, see if that’s enough to float. The rest of you should probably do the same.

I know I don’t want to drop any of this gold if I don’t have to.

Easy come, easy go with the cloth armor.

Are you going to get another set?

Only if I think about it. And probably not then.

Told you guys I sucked at carrying stuff.
Why are you dropping the flute?
Eh. I never used it. Good riddance.

How come Belle doesn’t have to drop anything? She probably has a heavier load than any of us.
Awesome Strength and awesome Swim. I’m just that awesome.

Alright, make some new rolls, and I’ll change the encumbrance modifier…oh! Congratulations, you all passed.

This moment when you have to drop stuff to avoid drowning is completely unavoidable, and I’m fairly certain that the Swim skill and Strength have an impact on how much you can get away with, both in terms of absolute weight levels and how much you have “free.” You are given maybe 3-4 chances per person to drop enough to live, but if you fail, the character drowns and their portrait disappears. You will never get them or your stuff back again. I don’t like losing characters or dropping stuff into the ocean, so I build my characters’ skills appropriately. I was lucky this time, and got away with losing replaceable armor and arrows. The alchemy set cost a pretty penny, but then I’ve got tons of those now.

Roll ‘em.

Serves him right for going first.

I’ll row.

William puts the oars into the holes and starts rowing to increase the distance from the ship. Most of the crossbow bolts disappear into the waves, but a few of them do hit their targets. You all take some damage. *Roll* *Roll* Oh, and one of the bolts hits Yann’s back with such a force that it throws him into the sea. Just in time and barely before Yann loses consciousness, you manage to pull him out of the water.

I’ll note that Yann is handy to have around for this moment, since being bolted off the boat is guaranteed to happen whether you like it or not, and if Yann’s still functional, his being first level will make it invariably happen to him. It’s handy, since the character so hit will be knocked down to 5 life points regardless of the starting number.

It takes you all day and half the night to row back to shore, and between the exposure, the effort, and the water…make disease checks, is what I’m saying.


It’s rather late when you finally make it back to the docks.

It’s rather late outside, too.

Good point.

We should at least heal ourselves before we leave.

Oh, that’s right. Some of the herbs were spoiled when they got soaked in salt water. You should roll to see how many you lose.

Alright, fine. *Many Rolls* oh good, we still have enough belmart to heal us. What do you think it is this time, Lewis?
Numskull, definitely. Anything we have will be enough for that.
I’ll heal us all, then.

You can’t heal yourself, actually.

Really? You mean I’ll have to trust…William?
Dude, I got, like, one bad roll. Here, let me just do it. There, 6. That’s good enough, right?

Yes, that’s just fine. So everyone’s healed? We’ll handle the loot-selling and armor buying next time.